Saturday, May 1, 2010
Flyers VS Bruins
Here we have a classic match. The Flyers beat out the Devils, a team I was worried would actually get to the Stanley Cup finals, to get here. I just didn’t think the goalie match up was a fair one but Brian Boucher played great and pulled out the win. As for the Bruins, I predicted that they would beat the Sabres, didn’t really have reason for that, guess I got lucky.
These teams split their meetings this season at two a piece. They are pretty even if you look at their regular season numbers but a lot has changed for both over the course of the season and in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bruins lost Marc Savard, their best forward, on March 7th and they’re getting him back for game one. Glad to see the team pick up the slack while he was gone but having him back is huge. They have guys like Recchi, Satan and Bergeron to help out up front. Let’s not forgot the big Chara in the back. Try getting around that guy, I bet he can poke check a puck that’s 7 feet in front of him. And last of all, I’ve been really impressed with how well Rask has played and kept his composure. Being a rookie and playing that well, this guy looks like the real deal. The Bruins did allow the least goals against during the season and he’s a big reason why. But, even if he does fall apart, the Bruins would have to go to their back up, a guy called Thomas, the Vezina winner last year. That’s quite the back up.
The Flyers played really well against the Devils, beating them in 6. Pretty darn good! Only problem now is they lost three really good forwards. They lost Carter for the season, Gagne is out for 3 weeks so we probably won’t see him again and it looks like Lappy is out for the rest of the season. Let’s all bow to Lappy, the guy is one tuff SOB. To go down and take a puck to the face like that for the second time this season, wow! The only real scorer they have left is Richards and the guy can’t do everything himself. The Flyers do have Pronger in the back but I’ve never believed he was ever that good. Looks kind of slow to me and I’ve seen him make mistakes; don’t see that changing at this point. And, the Flyers have had problems with the goaltending situation all season long. Boucher played amazing in the first round but I don’t see him playing that well for a second straight series.
I’ve got no choice here to go with the Bruins, not really based on how well they played during the season or in the playoffs, but because they get Savard back and the Flyers are just to beat up at this point.
Bruins in 6
From the Point
In the first round I didn’t pick either of these teams. Frankly not too many people did. But I give Frenchy credit for picking Boston in the first round.
As I’ve said before I think the goalie can make all the difference in a series and Boucher is making that difference right now. But look how cold Halak went in game one of the second round. So is Boucher going to let his team down in round two?
Boucher is sporting a 1.59 GAA and a 0.940 SV%.
Rask has a 2.18 GAA and a 0.927 SV%.
Boucher is tops amongst all goalies in this playoff season so far. But stats don’t always tell the whole story. This will be a battle of two hot goalies. Rask is the untested rookie and Boucher is a guy that has never played a whole season anywhere. This season is no different, he wasn’t brought in as the starter and yet here he is leading this team through the playoffs. Which one will maintain this pace and which one will crumble?
This is likely to be a bloody battle. A battle of the giants on the blue line. I think it’s pretty clear that the league will let star players get away with just about anything in these playoffs so if things get ugly don’t be surprised to see Pronger and Chara get a little chippy early. Both will try to set a tone for their teams.
This series is a bit of a toss up but I’ll give the edge to the Bruins for the same reasons that Frenchy does. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing this one go all the way, seven games with these two teams are bound to be big entertainment!
Bruins in six